Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two Great Articles Today on Georgia, Russia and China

If you have read my prior post, you may be interested in the great piece into today’s NY Sun from Ralph Peters on the “set-up” the Russians provided for this invasion of Georgia.  Beyond our fecklessness as a government, let me say, I understand Russia’s desire to re-assert itself.  It is in a strong a position as it will be for some time to come, so of course they are flexing their muscle.  But as former Colonel Peters says, this was far too well planned by Russia to be a response to Georgia’s own actions.  Read it here:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/08122008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/russia_goes_rogue_124032.htm?page=0

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The other article comes from China.  I did not watch the opening ceremonies on Friday (we did a family thing instead), but I heard a lot of good things about it.  Including was the oh so cute girl singing.  Well, turns out she was not singing, but a girl off stage was singing.  Details here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2545387/Beijing-Olympics-Faking-scandal-over-girl-who-sang-in-opening-ceremony.html

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The Chinese don’t seem to realise that you cannot fool the entire world the way you can fool your internal audience.  What is more, the idea of a politburo member pulling the actual singer off stage because she had bad teeth and they wanted to present a “perfect image” is quite disturbing.  That is so Communist, everything bright and shiny but ultimately faked.  What is more, if they had thought for a second, they would have wowed far more people with the little girl with the “bad teeth” precsiely because she is very cute and slightly flawed, something that the West seems to adore and it would have proven that China allows for the “less than perfect” as long as it is solidly Chinese.  Oh well, I feel bad for the little girl, and ashamed of their politburo.  If you made the change to “save face,” guess what guys, you lost it. 

Something about totalitarian regimes (and yes, Russia is an oligarchy now, lets not kid ourselves) - they have their own ambitions - power - and they really don’t need to worry about anyone else’s feelings or concerns.  As Jonah Goldberg so well paints in his book Liberal Fascism, this same stream, the importance of the state or movement over the individual is still alive and well in many areas in the West, from unions to the global warming crowd.

Look, as a Christian I believe we live in the tension between the individual and the community.  For all the talk of Acts 2 and 4 regarding the common purse, this was done as a result of individual choice in response to the Holy Spirit.  It was not imposed top down.  The individual cannot survive (long-term) without being part of a healthy community.  At the same time, the community cannot long survive when it treats individuals as grass to be mowed to the same height, instead of respecting the worth and dignity of each individual. 

This will be a great challenge as the Gospel continues to spread in cultures where honour, community, family, tribe, and nation have significan history as dominant elements in the society.  What does the Gospel look like when contextualised in these environments?  Since all Gospel movements are immature and not final, we know it will not look like the American church, but I think we will find it does not look like the Russian mafia or the Chinese People’s Party either.

Posted by Christopher on 08/12 at 02:32 PM
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Quote "Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He is himself the way." Karl Barth.

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